Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn, 26 August 1803

To Henry Dearborn

Monticello Aug. 26. 03.

Dear Sir

I inclose you a letter from mr Jackson of Tennissee, formerly a Senator from that state on the subject of Colo. Butler. he is a man of great integrity and respectability; carried sometimes beyond strict reason by an overwarm and excellent heart. another from judge Campbell on the subject of Doctr. Vandyke. I also return the one from him1 to you covering mine. on the subject of the robbery committed by the Cherokee Indian, the judge does not say whether it was on ours, or on the Indian side of the boundary. if on ours, we have jurisdiction without regard to persons or nations: but within their boundary we claim no jurisdiction over them. but the act of Congress of 1802 c.13. §.14. seems to settle accurately what ought to be done. I think it most probable the judge has not a copy of the law, and that he has done right by the coincidence of his own judgment with that of Congress, without knowing they had laid down a rule. if you think so, & will be so good as to signify it to me, I shall say so in the2 answer which I must write. not having heard from you since mine of the 13th. we live in hopes of seeing yourself & family here. Accept my affectionate salutations & assurances of great esteem & consideration.

Th: Jefferson

RC (MHi); signature clipped, supplied from PrC; at foot of text: “The Secretary at War.” PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as a letter to the War Department with notation “judge Campbell. Butler. Vandyke. Jackson.” Enclosures: (1) Andrew Jackson to TJ, 7 Aug. 1803. (2) David Campbell to TJ, 1 July 1803. Other enclosure not found.

act of congress: “An Act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontiers,” passed 30 Mch. 1802. Section 14 of the act specified the means of redress against Indians who committed transgressions against citizens or inhabitants of the United States in the states or territories. Victims were to submit their cases and supporting evidence to the proper U.S. Indian agent, who would make application to the Indian nation or tribe for satisfaction. If the case remained unsettled after a reasonable time, it was to be forwarded to the president for further action. Campbell had referred the above case to Cherokee agent Return Jonathan Meigs (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855-56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:143-4; Campbell to TJ, 1 July 1803).

1Preceding two words interlined.

2Word written over “my.”

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